Courtesy of BreakFree

March 16, 2022

BreakFree’s XIV Showcase Wows the Crowd

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After over a month into the spring semester, our prelims have been kicking off mercilessly, so the past two weeks have been stressful, to say the least. But on Friday, March 4, in Bailey Hall Auditorium, BreakFree’s XIV Showcase offered a night of fun and a nice break from current stress. 

BreakFree is Cornell’s HipHop dance group founded in 2006 under the motto “Dance to Inspire,” and passion is definitely what I saw on the stage. Every year, during the start of the spring semester, BreakFree holds an annual showcase, a culmination of all their efforts of the year. 

As a freshman, this was my first BreakFree showcase, and it was everything I hoped it would be and more. The doors opened at 6 p.m., and though I arrived at 6 p.m. sharp, there was already a line forming inside Bailey. I was jittery with anticipation. 

As people started trickling in, a slideshow of BreakFree members’ bios played on the projector, each accompanied by a quirky picture and an actual fun fact. At this point, the energy of the crowd was already insane. People were talking, laughing, shouting and creating an atmosphere buzzing with excitement. I was laughing and catching up with my own friends, just happy that we were all in the same room at the same place for the first time in a while. 

Then the light dimmed, and people started cheering in anticipation for BreakFree. If you haven’t been inside Bailey Auditorium before, it’s massive, seating over 1300 people. When I turned around to observe the crowd, I was stunned to see the entire auditorium packed.

The music choice was simply perfect. They played TikTok hits, like Chloe’s “Have Mercy” and Nicki’s “Only” to 2000s throwbacks like “Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake and Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty to Me.” It was impossible not to feel the music and dance in your seat.  

I’m not a dance expert, but I was impressed by the wide range of different styles the group incorporated. Even more so, I was impressed by the dedication they put into BreakFree, since being both a Cornell student and a dancer takes a lot of energy and willpower.  

Sitting in the crowd, their passion for dance was palpable and contagious. The crowd went crazy for them, and just as an observer — one out of the hundreds present — I felt oddly proud of them. 

The showcase also included guest performances by Cornell’s Bhangra team, who came out in bright, colorful outfits and danced to really awesome Bollywood remixes. African Diaspora Repertoire and On Tap Dance Troupe also made an appearance. One was a vibrant spin on traditional African dance and the other, tap dance, both so dissimilar but uniquely amazing. 

Towards the end, BreakFree seniors received flowers and heartfelt thanks from current members. There were a lot of tears and bouts of laughter from the members and “awws” and “oohs” from the crowd. I was touched by how close the BreakFree family seemed.  

I left the auditorium blissfully satisfied and ramped up with energy. If you haven’t gone to a BreakFree showcase, I suggest you definitely do so. It’s one of the many Cornell experiences you shouldn’t miss.

Tenzin Dhasel is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].